Source: Amir Rasheed on Pixabay
When people think about exploring the world, one country that always seems to pop up is Canada. Canada is one of the biggest countries in the world and as a result it’s split into numerous regions known as provinces or territories. One province that many people love to visit is the province of Alberta in the west, next to British Columbia. Alberta is a really diverse and unique province with some fantastic things to see and do. Here’s a list of our favourite Alberta sights you need to add to your visit list when you next get to Canada with cheap flights from Justfly.
Jasper and Banff
Jasper and Banff are the two main resort towns in the Rocky Mountains, along the border with British Columbia. Both are traditional mountain towns with wooden lodges, stunning scenery, and ample accommodations and restaurants. Banff, to the south and only about an hour away from Calgary is slightly more touristy than its northern neighbour, Jasper, given its proximity to the Calgary International Airport. That being said though, there’s no reason you can’t rent a car and do both – they’re connected by the stunning Columbia Icefields Parkway, a stretch of road that cuts its way through the Rockies, along rivers, glaciers and steep mountain passes.
It’s cheesy – in all the right ways. Drumheller is a cute small town in the Alberta Badlands and is home to some of the biggest dinosaur finds in the world. Named after Samuel Drumheller who founded the town in the early 1900s, this unique region is a hot spot for tourism in the summer. The valley in which the town is located is made of sedimentary rock, giving the scenery a truly desert like feel and climate. Lots of minerals can be found in the area. If you’re into the history of a region, check out the Atlas Coal mine to learn about how some of the neighbouring towns boomed with the coal industry before falling flat. Drumheller is known for its love of dinosaurs and you can find playful statues throughout the town, including the world’s biggest T-Rex, which you can climb into for a viewpoint from its open mouth.
The region offers amazing hiking, old school museums, unique sights such as the Eleven Bridges to Wayne and the renowned Royal Tyrrell Museum, full of amazing examples of some of the area’s dinosaur and fossil finds. Book accommodation ahead in the summer months or come with a camper for some great camping options.
Alberta is awash with numerous ghost towns that are fun to visit on day trips from the major cities. Two particularly interesting ghost towns are near Drumheller – Wayne and Rowley. Rowley still retains its wild west charm, set right on some flat, Alberta prairie with shops, a grain elevator, church and houses. Most buildings you can’t go into, but it’s worth an hour or so to look around. Beware the ghost in the old saloon!
Wayne is a tiny hamlet deep in the Red Deer Valley, formerly a booming coal mining town. As the industry died, so did Wayne, and today only a handful of people still call the area home. The Last Chance Saloon in Wayne is a unique old wild west style saloon and bar that hosts the annual Waynestock Music Festival, bringing some of Alberta’s best new indie music to the forefront of the music scene. A must visit if you’re in the area.
Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump
Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump (also known simply as ‘Head Smashed In’) is a former First Nations hunting ground, set above a valley near the Rocky Mountain foothills in southern Alberta. The Blackfoot and Cree hunters of the area used to drive buffalo over the cliff edge and then collect the carcasses in the valley below – a great way to stock up on food for long, cold, Canadian winter months. Worth a visit if you’re in the area to learn more about the Plains Indians and their way of life through the very educational and fun interpretation centre.
In 1903, the sleepy town of Frank, Alberta had just snuggled into bed for the night when its neighbour, Turtle Mountain experienced a shift and subsequent rockslide, burying the town and killing many of its residents. Today, much of Frank remains buried, however it’s been rebuilt around the slide. An interpretation centre tells the story of the residents who were affected by this natural disaster and the survivors. Definitely worth a stop.
World’s Biggest Things
The prairies has a bit of a thing about getting their town and villages known for having ‘The World’s Biggest Thing’, usually somehow affiliated with what the town is known for. Many towns throughout the prairies of Canada participate with Alberta’s main ones being the biggest Ukrainian Easter Egg in Vegreville, the biggest Kubasa (Ukrainian sausage) in Mundare, the biggest Perogy in Glendon and just to be a bit different, a large model of the USS Enterprise in the southern Alberta town of Vulcan. Vulcan – get it?
So if you’re looking for a great holiday, visit Alberta. With so many cool things to see and do, great ways to get back to nature and more, what’s not to like? We’re sure you’ll love it – we sure do!